The Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center offers weekly installments of Campus Swedish Facts. Today's is: Why is the Gävle Room called Gävle, and how is it pronounced?
The Gävle Room in the Gerber Center is named after the city of Gävle, which lies roughly 100 miles north of Stockholm in the Swedish province of Gästrikland.
The Reverend Lars Paul Esbjörn, Augustana Seminary’s first president, was educated in the city of Gävle and it was from Gävle that Esbjörn and a small group of congregants left for the United States, eventually settling in Andover, Ill. The name of the large, versatile Gerber Center meeting space is a nod to the city that was so important to Esbjörn in his youth.
Now, the city of Gävle is perhaps best known for being the home of “Gävle Bock” or the Gävle Goat, a 13-meter (42.6 feet) tall straw goat that is erected every year to celebrate the holiday season. Despite the city’s best efforts, the goat has been set on fire no fewer than 36 times in its 55-year history. The goat has become so important to the city’s identity that the city logo is actually a G shaped like a goat.
Other famous people to have called Gävle home: Eric Jansson (founder of the Bishop Hill colony), Joe Hill (Joel Emmanuel Hägglund, Swedish-American labor activist), and a number of NHL players (too many to list).
Pronunciation of Gävle: /ˈjɛːvlɛ/